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Mum of missing Claudia says Sarah Everard’s family ‘always in my thoughts’

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Police think Joan Lawrence’s daughter Claudia, 35, was murdered on her way to work as a chef at York University in March 2009 – a fresh search for clues was carried out in August

Claudia’s mum Joan said women should not have to live in fear of walking the streets

A mum whose daughter vanished walking in the dark 12 years ago today tells murdered Sarah Everard’s parents: “I’m here if you ever need to talk. You are always in my thoughts.”

Joan Lawrence knows only too well the life sentence of anguish and loss Susan and Jeremy face after Sarah’s horrific death at the hands of evil policeman Wayne Couzens.

She tells how she sat in tears listening to details of the horrific killing at the trial, despairing that her own daughter Claudia – believed by detectives to have been abducted and murdered on her way to work – may have suffered a similar fate.

“It made me think about what could have happened to my own daughter,” said Joan.



Detectives think Claudia may have been abducted and murdered on her way to work
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Image:

PA)




“To think of another parent suffering so much pain left me devastated.

“I would like Sarah’s parents to know they are constantly in my thoughts and prayers every single day. I have never had to deal with the news of my daughter’s body being discovered.

“I know one day there is a chance I may be told exactly the same thing and it fills me with utter dread. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”



Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens
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Image:

via REUTERS)




What brings it even closer to home for Joan, 78, is that both Claudia and Sarah were in their early 30s, both disappeared walking at night. And both were brought up in York. “I went to lay flowers at York Minster for Sarah where people gathered at a vigil,” she said.

“The outpouring of grief was visceral.

“When a child goes missing it is a life sentence for the parents, family and friends.









“I’ve lived more than 12 years without my daughter and the pain is as raw as the day police told me she had vanished. During the recent new searches for her I didn’t sleep for two weeks”

Police think Claudia, 35, was murdered on her way to work as a chef at York University in March 2009.

Last month they carried out a fresh search at the Sand Hutton gravel pits site seven miles from her cottage in the city – but to no avail.



Jeremy Everard (left), the father of Sarah Everard, outside the Old Bailey, central London on the day of Couzens’ sentencing
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Image:

PA)




Marketing worker Sarah, 33, was walking home in Clapham, South London, when Couzens falsely arrested, abducted, raped and strangled her before setting her body on fire.

Joan, of Malton, North Yorks, said: “Women should not be in fear of walking the streets. We shouldn’t be scared of going out alone at night.

“Crimes against women need to be addressed and impactful changes made.



Earlier this year police drained a lake at Sand Hutton Gravel Pits, near York, in the search for Claudia Lawrence
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Image:

Tom Maddick SWNS)




“The horror of knowing Sarah was raped and murdered leaves me devastated for her parents.

“The last few hours of that young woman’s life were utterly horrendous. And the knock on the door from a police officer to inform you of something so unimaginable is truly terrifying.”

Now Joan is dreading that knock alone. Claudia’s grieving father Peter, 74, died in February never knowing what had happened to his daughter.







“My heart and prayers go out to Sarah’s parents and family. If they would like to talk, I am always here for them,” says Joan.

“But the reality is these types of attacks and murders are happening. I don’t know for sure Claudia wasn’t dealt the same fate.

“So many women’s lives end in this brutal and evil manner. It’s only for the grace of God I haven’t had to deal with this yet.”


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